The husband and I had been meaning to buy a home for years, but we put it off and put it off and put it off…until the day that our landlord informed us he was selling our townhouse and would we like to buy it? (the answer is a RESOUNDING no, BTW.) Since we were off-lease at that point, we didn’t know how long we had to find a place and get a loan and close and all that.
We could have rented somewhere, but the rents around here in Florida have skyrocketed and frankly, it just didn’t make sense when we could be putting that money into something of our own. At least, that’s what they tell you.
So we started out. Hello, sticker shock. If you want a house for under $200k around here, you better WORK. They’re all either flipped and overpriced, pieces of absolute crap or snapped up faster than you can line up a showing. To start, we had a very nice lady as our agent, who helped us put an offer on a house in a lovely part of town, but we couldn’t agree on repairs (it needed a roof) so we went back on the hunt. And although the lady was very nice, we didn’t feel like we fully meshed with her, so we tried a friend of a friend who was a bit more, shall we say, sharky.
Listen, the kittles needed a roof over their heads, and we felt like we were under a time crunch. It seemed reasonable at the time to go with a more aggressive approach. This was the BIGGEST GIGANTIC-EST TERRIBLE NO-GOOD MISTAKE EVER. I’ll skip to the end, in case you’re worrying about the cats. They do have a roof over their heads. We now own a house. But their mommy and daddy are stressed to the max in what seems like a neverending tale of shitstorm.
It’s our first time buying a home. We didn’t know what the hell we were in for. And my hope is that this blog, aside from being a helpful guide to cat people with lemon cats, is helpful for just ONE OTHER PERSON so they don’t have to go through what we did.
This is a very long story so I’ll break it up into smaller pieces for brevity’s sake. Here’s what you’re going to learn:
- Why real estate agents for buyers are useless (sorry to any good ones out there, but in Florida, it’s really a misnomer to say you’re working for the buyer because LEGALLY all you are is someone that shows the house for the seller’s agent)
- Why you should hire your own home inspector – not the one your agent recommends – and why you might as well put out the money to set up termite, plumbing, electrical, structural and roofing inspectors that SPECIALIZE in what they’re doing
- Why you should be extremely specific in your contract and not assume that the professionals aren’t just using terms of the trade
- What you should know about closing costs
- What you should know about flood maps
- How to estimate your future property taxes
- Who’s responsible for making sure you don’t get screwed (hint: it’s you. Only you.)
- How to find out what you need to know about utilities when your shitty agent never gets back to you
- How to know if your agent is a total shitbag
- What to know when you do final walkthrough
- What you need to know about a home built before the 1980s
- How much windows cost
- Why you need to check for termites even in a block home
- What legal recourse you have when you discover things after you close
- What happens when you complain about your terrible service to your agent’s broker
- Why using a good contractor is important
- Why you should always get a second opinion
- And many things in between.
Excited? Stay tuned.